Sedentary life is never harmless. A prolonged sedentary lifestyle is a threat to our health and increases the mortality rate. An inactive lifestyle involves sitting for long hours with very little or no exercise and less movement.
As a result, the chances of serious diseases like heart problems, diabetes, osteoporosis and anxiety increase. A sedentary lifestyle may seem comfortable and easy but in the long term, it can have truly adverse effects on your health and well-being.
Harmful effects of a sedentary life:
1. Leads to obesity:
Are you spending long hours working on the chair and then lounging on the couch? If so, you must rethink! People who do not move around are more likely to gain weight as excess fat keeps building up and getting stored instead of burning.
Excess body fat can give rise to cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea and high blood pressure. Get some indoor exercise aids to use between breaks.
2. Reduces body flexibility:
Constant inactivity reduces the flexibility of our muscles. This leads to pain and inflammation in the muscles. Lower back pain is also common. Devote some time to stretching exercises during your day.
3. Develops heart disease:
Inactivity spikes our cholesterol levels. High blood pressure and high blood sugar are two factors that damage our hearts with time.
This makes us prone to severe heart attacks which are mostly fatal.
4. Leads to anxiety and depression:
Inactivity often leads to hormonal imbalance. This imbalance often gives rise to anxiety and depression where you feel less motivated most of the time. In extreme cases, it leads to serious mental health issues. Indulge in activities that reduce stress.
5. Makes one prone to cancer:
Long hours of inactivity reduce our metabolism. It often leads to life-threatening diseases like colon cancer.
6. Leads to osteoporosis:
When our bones are not allowed to be in use, they tend to lose their strength. The sedentary lifestyle kills bone and muscle strength.
In extreme cases, it even leads to osteoporosis, a bone disease that weakens the bones and makes them porous and brittle. In osteoporosis, any small fall or mild stress can cause fractures. Therefore, it often requires immediate medical attention.
Why is it difficult to avoid a sedentary lifestyle?
A sedentary lifestyle has become sadly usual now. For working professionals, the demands of a job life generally include putting in long hours, when people are often stuck at their workstations.
Further, project deadlines that require working professionals to slog it out for long hours often without a break contribute to a lifestyle that can have deadly outcomes in the long run.
To make matters worse, even school-going children are not spared now. Besides their school hours, they are often stuck at home for long hours studying or playing video games.
Moreover, the pandemic has accentuated the crisis. For professionals working from home and students attending classes for long hours on their digital devices, there is not much scope to but fall in line with a sedentary lifestyle.
So, what is the solution?
As health professionals have been saying repeatedly, it is important to switch off your devices once your working hours are over. Meditation and music can also be of big help. And even while working for long hours, it is important to take frequent short breaks to recharge yourself.
A few tips can be helpful to avoid the side effects of inactive life. They are:
Include medium-impact exercise in your daily routine. Stick to your 30-minutes fitness routine.
- Go out for running or walking every day. This helps you to release your stress.
- Do not sit for too long while watching TV. Use the commercial breaks to get up.
- Try to take breaks while working. Walk for a few minutes in the meantime.
- Walk while talking on the phone.
- Do not hesitate to do your daily chores.
- Take the stairs instead of elevators.
Sitting Disease: How a Sedentary Lifestyle Affects Heart Health | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Physical inactivity a leading cause of disease and disability, warns WHO.